I used to have piss-poor posture for the longest time. I grew up playing video games daily and had bad internally rotated shoulders for the longest time. After some time, I could not Bench Press in the gym without irritating my shoulders. In my daily life, it was impossible to use a shovel without experiencing some sort of shoulder pain. I felt like there was no solution in sight. And that was only my upper body! My lower back also experienced pain. From work in landscaping, I would be driving for about half of the day from site to site. As a result, I’d experience a ridiculous amount of lower back pain throughout the day. I thought there was no solution until I discovered what was causing the pain in both my upper and lower body. In both instances it was Upper and Lower Cross Syndrome. But first, let’s discuss the posture of the modern man to get a better idea what we’re dealing with.
The Posture of the Modern Man
I write this post as a hope to inspire you to take your posture with a strong demeanor if you don’t already. I have noticed from my own observations that the posture of the modern man is weak and folding in on itself. The average modern man cannot stand up straight even if he tried.
Here are some of my observations:
- Forward neck tilt
- Weak traps
- Kyphotic curve in the thoracic spine
- Weak upper back
- Compressed chest
- Belly that sticks out
- Weak pec and shoulder muscles
- Slow reflexes
- Back and neck pain
- No ass muscles whatsoever
- Internally rotated shoulders
- Mouth breather with a weak jaw
- Tight hips and hamstrings
- Shit knees
- Zero ankle mobility
- Low testosterone
- Flat feet
Depending on the health of the modern man, he can have some, if not all all symptoms. It depends on how well he’s taken care of himself. These observations led me to do some anthropological research of the Neanderthals. What exactly was the posture of the Neanderthals?
It was tall, strong, and erect. There was no hunching over. Their bodies were fluid in their movement. They needed to kill living animals, survive in caves, and walk daily throughout the land. These people were not sedentary by any means. Their lives depended on movement and their body reflects constant movement. What I’ve listed above are the symptoms of the posture of the modern man. These symptoms can break down into Upper Cross Syndrome and Lower Cross Syndrome. I’ll explain the symptoms, cause, and corrective exercises for both below. When dealing with any kind of injury, syndrome, or illness it’s best to treat yourself as a Doctor worth his salt. Observe the symptoms and try and figure out what the causes are. Treating the symptoms will only be a temporary fix that will find some way to come back in a different shape or form.
Upper Cross Syndrome
What is Upper Cross Syndrome?
- Tight traps and neck
- Weak neck flexor
- Tight pec and lat muscles
- Weak rhomboids and lower traps
Look at yourself in the mirror and view yourself from the side angle with a relaxed posture. If you look like the imagine on the right, then read on. These symptoms have a solution. What are the causes for this Upper Cross Syndrome? A lot of it has to do with the glorification of desk jobs since the 1960s. After the Second World War and late Industrial Revolution, the world began to move away from the physical labour towards desk jobs as technology took off. Fast forward to modern day, we have the creation of the sedentary lifestyle. The second order effect has a forward head tilt from looking a mobile and computer screens. This society looks down at their phone instead of bringing their phone to eye level. We’re a lazy society of low testosterone that can’t properly train. Many people train their chest because it looks good with a pump. This only worsens the problem by creating more internally rotated shoulders. As a result, much of the population has a weak upper back and internally rotated shoulders; along with pains when it comes to Bench Press.
What is there to do? To solve Upper Cross Syndrome, you must stretch the tight areas and strengthen the weak areas.
Let’s start with the neck:
- You’ll want to maintain proper neck posture throughout the day. This means you’ll have to tuck your chin and push it back to be in alignment with your ears.
- Push your tongue to the roof of your mouth wand only breathe from your nose. No more mouth breathing for you.
- You’ll also want to stretch the muscles in the back of your neck: Watch this video it’ll show you how.
- Take breaks from your screen and rotate your neck in circles many times a day.
The rest of the Syndrome:
- Incorporate Dead Hangs for 3 sets x 30-60s seconds at the end of your workout. You’ll stretch you’ll lats and pec muscles like you wouldn’t believe.
- I also suggest you drop the pushing muscles like the Bench Press for a while and focus on your posterior muscles.
- Rows, Rows, and more Rows.
- Lying chest stretch with weights.
- Walking daily.
- 100 reps of facepulls daily.
- Properly sit and get a standing desk if possible.
Now you have the tools to tackle your Upper Cross Syndrome. Let’s take a look at how we can solve your Lower Cross Syndrome.
Lower Cross Syndrome
What is Lower Cross Syndrome? It’s often known as an Anterior Pelvic Tilt which has a combination of symptoms such as:
- Weak glutes (muscles stretched and turned off)
- Tight hamstrings
- Lower back pain (tight spinal erectors)
- Weak core (muscles stretched and turned off)
- Tight hip flexors
The causes of Lower Cross Syndrome are very like Upper Cross Syndrome. In fact, if you have one of the syndromes, then it’s probable you have the other.
Here are some common causes:
- Driving/sitting at a desk/couch for long periods of time
- Lack of movement in the body
- Weak posterior chain
- Not enough standing exercises in the gym
There is always a solution to get yourself out of this problem. The best place to start is to do the opposite of what you’re doing now.
Here are some good corrective exercises to start:
- Heavy Hip Thrusts, daily Glute Bridges, Fire hydrants
- Walking 30-60 minutes daily
- Strengthen your posterior chain
- Hip flexor stretch routine
- Core Bracing
If you incorporate these corrective exercises daily, then I have no doubt you’ll solve your Lower Cross Syndrome. You might have a different starting point than someone else, but you have the steppingstones on the right path. Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged and work on it a little bit every day.
As you can see, both the Upper and Lower Cross Syndrome have similarities in their causes. Both have the sedentary lifestyle that cause your body into these syndromes. Whether it be from sitting in a car, desk, or couch your body will want to find the most comfortable position: Which is both syndromes. We can also see how Neanderthals have a better posture than the modern man. Their lives depend on movement. Their sedentary lifestyle happens when they spent their times in caves by a campfire. They didn’t have a desk job, car, or cellphone to cause Upper and Lower Cross Syndrome. They walked, hunted, and ran as a lifestyle. They looked ahead of them to keep their eyes on the environment that might kill them. Consider doing the same. I have given you the tools above to correct both syndromes. But if you’re looking for a proper gym routine to build a strong posture and keep yourself accountable, then the Atlas Posture Program is for you.
Inside the Atlas Posture Program, you’ll:
- Train your posterior chain up to 5 days a week
- Focus on those week muscles
- Realign your posture
- Have a more confident posture
- Build a strong posterior chain